When we first mentioned our plan to take the family camping I will tell you we were met with some eyebrow raises, eyes widened and words that articulated the looks on those faces very well. I did not go into this camp out naively. I was very aware that this was going to be quite the feat to accomplish, aside from CF being part of the equation.
Ezzy didn’t miss a single treatment and I know she/we were covered in prayer. She had a freak situation happen a few days before that left us scared. Her lips turned blue and she couldn’t catch her breath. The only thing we can think is it was due to her missing her morning nebulizer treatment. We had forgotten to steralize her neb cups the night before (yes, it can happen, even though we have to do them all the time) and they were in the process of getting cleaned. She can’t miss her treatments, they keep her airways open. They are not negotiable.
But first I have to acknowledge something that I think most of you know, but I still need to say it. I want to believe down the road when these little humans I am raising are grown, they will look back at their life stories I have written and smile, cry, laugh, or feel something as their eyes meet these words. So I have to say, this camping trip was the dream of a little almost 9 year old, who after seeing what the obstacles were, he made a plan, worked incredibly hard, and most of all achieved it.
7.5 wks of early mornings, injuries, mental defeat, indoor track time and logging some crazy miles all over this island resulted in him carrying a campaign to raise funds for his sister. Each time we went to Timber and Marine to drop off funds, the young man would ask, “how far have you run this time?”. I love how people took the time to not only support him monetarily, but also with their words. If you didn’t say something to his face and said it to me or through facebook, I let him know every word of encouragement, praise and acknowledgement said on his behalf.
To the donors, thank you!
To Cayden, my one and only son…you know how I feel about you…every single run, you were wrapped in my arms, met with a kiss on your sweaty forehead and heard me tell you “son, you are amazing! You are like no body else! Wow, I am so proud of you! Can you believe you just did that?? That is crazy!!!!”
As we prepared for this little getaway, we started making lists of what we thought we needed and then in a moment of nerves I made a post on social media and asked everyone what we should pack.
I was really thankful I did this, because there were some no brainers on there, that in my stress of trying to pack everything but the kitchen sink, I realized I was overlooking small things, like uno cards, which provided hours of entertainment while Ezzy did her vest. I also felt I was given a pass on having to slave away cooking elaborate meals over the campfire…why? Because of stupid Pinterest. I am so glad a mom said to keep the meals simple. Those were the meals that my kids loved and enjoyed. Meals like oatmeal or tacos in a bag were a huge hit as we gathered around the fire.
It took 2.5 full hours to load up the car. Yeah.
I had warned the hubby we should start sooner, he informed me multiple times that I was overthinking things and it would take us no time. After my decision to not be the squeaky wheel I relented and closed my mouth. An hour into packing, shirt off, sweat rushing down his face I heard him say “this is a lot of stuff!!!” He quickly realized everything wouldn’t fit in one trip and we were so glad my mom decided to follow us out to the campsite last minute so we could fill her car too. You would be proud of me that I didn’t say “I told you so”
We set up camp, while finding out that the Harney family was declared the premiere meal of the weekend by the mosquitos and no-seeums in the area. The “no Deet” bug spray that was coating our bodies with sticky film, was just an appetizer for those stupid bugs before they reached their main course. Thank God my mom found our favorite bug spray at the local grocery store right before heading to the site. We were an oily oily mess the whole weekend, but at least not covered from head to toe in bites.
Bringing the kids’ bikes was such a great idea and I loved catching glimpses of Ezzy’s and Cayden’s heads shining in the light between the trees as the whizzed by all the sites. The whole camp ground was full with other little people and if you stood still you could hear their muffled laughter with the crackling of the fire, the chirp of the birds and chatter of the squirrels. Cayden even got to shoot his bb guns safely while kids played, something he loves to do.
We were so blessed that some friends decided to join us on our adventure, their daughter is one of Ezzy’s closest friend. They had gone out the day before like us to scope out the camp grounds. We both were able to grab the last few slots available. Once the kids figured out the little trail between our 2 sites, we let go, HA, mainly I let go, and let the kids roam to and fro between our sites.
One thing we quickly learned was we had grabbed wood from the wrong pile and had wet wood. After running through some solutions, it was decided Richard would drive to my cousins’ to get some dry wood. Within a few minutes of him leaving, my said cousin showed up at our site with a truck full of wood, because he just wanted to check on us novices. Thanks to my family we were supplied with plenty of wood for our camping trip.
As nighttime began to fall all our heads were topped with the headlamps Richard found in the $1 bin at Safeway.
Smores were happily eaten in mass quantities around the fire. Along with a rich desert my sweet friend and her hubby decided to bring us after their date. Needless to say all healthy clean eating went out the door this weekend and I indulged in lots of yummy things.
Even though it became apparent that our neighbors, a group of young 20 somethings had no regard for the family with little kids next to them, we managed to squeeze a few hours of sleep in. When I say few, I mean few. They didn’t quiet down until 3:30 am and we could hear every word spoken as if they were in the tent with us. Our little early risers woke with the thrushes’ morning song and daylight and we soon had movement at our camp ground at 4:30 am.
Not enough coffee could cover the exhaustion that Richard and I were feeling.
We were pleasantly surprised how quiet Ezzy’s generator is. When it was ran the night before all the camp sites were full of lots of sounds. When we used it in the morning it didn’t seem to bother those around us. I think the songs Ya’el was singing was louder then the generator.
My sweet friend who brought us desert the night before also came and met us in the morning to go and check out the minus tide with the kids. She blessed us with some candid photos of our time together. She even went back to our site and snapped some pics while we were away.
Coffee, tired parents and kids being fed energy from the freedom to explore made some pretty great pictures if you ask me.
Quesadillas were scarfed by hungry bellies and we gathered our swim gear and walked to the beach. My little man was set on taking me out in the little boat I had found at our grocery store the day before and we chatted about all the things he loved doing and couldn’t wait to do for the rest of the trip.
Honestly this is why so few pictures were taken. I found myself caught up in conversations with my friend and her husband and we had ample times to just sit and hear each others’ hearts. One mark of deep friendships is the ability to sit together in silence, no pressure to fill the spaces. That happened that day on the beach. It blessed my introvert heart in so many ways.
After crisping up our skin with the welcomed sun, we headed back to the campsite and found ourselves with more visitors! My cousin and her boyfriend brought a drone to play with and also extra arms to hold little girls.
Our kids went down without a fight and their tired little bodies found sleep quickly even thought we realized we were going to experience another night of little sleep thanks our neighbors. But we did see a pretty amazing sunset!
Richard and I were taught cribbage by our friends who joined us for the camp out, while our tired kids all slept. Richard took a few trips to check on the kids and did find himself running quickly over to our site to calm a frantic child that was trying to get out of the tent and couldn’t find the zipper.
Thankfully our kids slept a little better and Richard smartly brewed a pot of coffee immediately to ensure he wasn’t met with a grumpy momma again. We knew our time had come to an end and we needed to get tired worn out bodies back to civilization. We broke down camp in record time, probably driven with the incentive of a hot shower and our own beds for the night.
Before we could go, our children decided to have church (they even made invites and passed them out to all campers they could find).
I will admit, I really wanted to go home and was ready. I was done being the buffet for bugs, I was in desperate need of quiet time. I did not go to church with the best mindset or heart. But when these little children who lived out what us parents have been instilling in them, I soon found tears gracing my eyes.
We were led in worship and communion in a little sanctuary made of skunk cabbage and moss. Rays of sunlight peaked through the trees. Sounds from the neighboring site filled the forest sanctuary. They even had a section for the sound guys to sit in. Our communion elements were made up of white sandwhich bread and purple sports drink.
There at campsite #6/7 we partook in Christ’ sacrifice and gave thanks for the full filled weekend he provided us.
Needless to say, this crazy family is already dreaming and planning our next camping adventure and can’t wait to make more memories. Thank you for believing in Cayden. Thank you for supporting him. Thank you for the camp gear that was purchased for our family. Thank you for allowing this amazing time as a family to happen.